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Itziar Canelas – The onboarding specialist who loves problem-solving

05 Oct 2021

When you spend time with customers you come to understand the problems they face. And if you’re anything like Itziar Canelas, you can’t help but want to play your part in finding solutions. We caught up with Itziar to talk about the many strands to her role as a Customer Onboarding Specialist, how the peak of the COVID disruption was anything but a quiet time for her, and the benefits of having lived in Latin America.

Hi Itziar. Tell us about your role at Avinode

So, I’m a Customer Onboarding Specialist based in Miami. My role is kind of a hybrid of product specialist and implementation specialist. The team I work in supports both Avinode and Schedaero. I have colleagues who are more specialized in advanced Schedaero features and I’m more about advanced Avinode features.


And what are the different aspects of your job?

Our team wears multiple hats. The core work is onboarding members by teaching them how to use our products and get them to maximize the benefits that their membership provides.

Then there’s the support aspect when issues arise. In the team, we all know the products well, so we’re often the first filter there. If things escalate and we need a real tech expert or product owner to look at something, we liaise between the member and our tech support team.


It sounds like you have a really varied role

I do. We also get to work on a whole range of projects. We’re always exploring new and existing internal tools to see how we can work smarter and provide value to our members. I think in a lot of other companies my role would be very task orientated; onboard and train, that’s it. But at Avinode Group we’re always rethinking processes and how we can make the experience better for the member.

That makes this role so much fun, having the freedom to brainstorm and bring something good to the table.

I love working in technology and software as a service. I think a lot of people want this type of role these days and I feel incredibly lucky.


The personal touch must be especially important in your job

Absolutely. Avinode Group is big on personalized training. For our members, we want to hear what their day-to-day workflow is like for their role as that allows us to better guide them on using our tools to achieve what they’re looking for.

Plus, when you deliver personalized training, you get the best feedback. Sometimes it’s feedback you’ve heard before – which is still useful – but other times there are complete curveballs. That really makes us all sit up and think hard about those challenges. That means customers wanting to fine-tune how they use our systems are also providing valuable feedback to our product team. It feels great to be able to learn how our members operate their business and be able to guide them on the best workflow for them with our products.


We love it when members are happy with the software. Where are your customers based?

They’re all across the US and in Latin America. I have Spanish and Bolivian heritage and Spanish is my first language, so that Latin American market makes sense for me.

I’ve also lived in South America and Europe, and I think that has helped when it comes to supporting members in those countries where there’s an important emphasis on relationship building. I have an understanding of how business is done there and what our members value in the system and I think that can help in our role. I think being able to train some of
our members in Spanish can also bring value to them.


I believe that COVID had an unexpected impact on your workload

That’s right. In normal times, operators are so busy that when booking training, it’s not uncommon to have to reschedule for another day. During the peak of Covid, we had existing members and new members interested in attending personalized trainings.

People suddenly had the time to better understand the tool they already had, and the opportunity to explore all those features that come with their membership that they might have not fully maximized before.

Then, as business picked back up again, brokers were joining the system which picked up demand again for trainings.


Does your role take you on the road a lot?

Before the pandemic, I got to travel locally in the US as well as to Latin America, delivering training in person. I’d also go to Mexico, for example, for the big trade show, and travel with the sales team to meet potential customers and support the account managers with existing customers.

Like most people in the company, I love to travel – it’s one of my favorite things to do – so that’s another reason why my role is so exciting.


And what about life outside of work. What keeps you busy?

Well, I like to host family and friends over and spending time with them. I also enjoy learning new vegetarian recipes. I am slowly educating myself more on vegan clothing brands.

I’m a huge animal lover too and have two cats. I’m not ready for the commitment of a dog and with two 10-year-old cats, it can get a little tricky– although maybe now with COVID and not traveling so much… Watch this space.


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